Never Again?: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitismby Abraham Foxman, Elie Wiesel
Anti-Semitism remains a pernicious form of ethnic and religious intolerance and an assault on the fundamentals of human dignity and human rights. Exploring the history of anti-Semitism and providing the first comprehensive examination of the new rampant anti-Jewish sentiment worldwide, Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, offers a
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Anti-Semitism remains a pernicious form of ethnic and religious intolerance and an assault on the fundamentals of human dignity and human rights. Exploring the history of anti-Semitism and providing the first comprehensive examination of the new rampant anti-Jewish sentiment worldwide, Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, offers a crucial discussion of the steps that must be taken to prevent this century from witnessing a replay of the horrors of the last.
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As Storm Clouds Gather:
The Rise of the New Anti-Semitism
In some ways today's reemergence of anti-Semitism in a time of turmoil is predictable and unsurprising -- although it's profoundly disappointing to realize how quickly millions of people seem to have forgotten the lessons of the Holocaust. What's most troubling is the way today's new anti-Semitism combines traditional bigotry and hatred with modern resentments in a way that is unprecedented and particularly virulent. The process is furthest advanced and most visible in the Middle East and on the continent of Europe, but it can be observed also in the United States, in Latin America, and in other countries around the world -- even those, like Japan, in which very few Jews can be found.
In today's new mutant strain of anti-Semitism, traditional elements of the extreme right and the extreme left are working together, often in concert with immigrants of Arab descent and terrorist organizations based in the Middle East. It's a strange alliance, since adherents of the far right in Europe and North America generally espouse nativist policies and abhor foreign, especially non-Christian, influences. Yet hatred of the Jews is proving to be a powerful enough force to unite these disparate groups.
The authoritative Anti-Semitism Worldwide, prepared annually by a team of scholars at the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University, provides a wealth of details concerning how fringe groups on the right and the left are uniting on behalf of an anti-Semitic agenda. Here are a few examples from the most recent reports concerning the continent of Europe:
- In Germany, Hans-Günther Eisenecker, vice chairman of the radical right-wing NPD, has described his vision of an "antisemitic internationale," which would link Islamist movements, North Korea, Cuba, and extreme nationalists in Europe and America in an alliance against Israel and the United States.
- American white supremacist David Duke recently returned from a two-year tour of Europe, during which he lectured on "the Aryan race's main enemy, world Zionism" in several countries and conferred with Russian leaders ranging from neofascist Vladimir Zhinovsky to Communist Duma member General Albert Makashov.
- In eastern Europe, the right-wing Greater Romania Party and the Hungarian Justice and Life Party have championed the cause of Iraq and the Palestinians, claiming that American foreign policy is controlled by Israel and the Jews.
- Extreme left-wing and right-wing groups worked together to mount anti-Israel demonstrations in autumn 2000 in Rome, Copenhagen, and Vienna.
- Over 250 violent anti-Semitic incidents were perpetrated through Europe in the weeks following the outbreak of the Middle Eastern intifada, aimed not at institutions identified with the state of Israel, but simply at Jews. Evidence shows that some of these attacks were conducted by left-wing groups, others by right-wing groups, and that the two sets of extremists appeared to inspire each other in anti-Jewish attacks.
Similarly, in the United States, white supremacists and other ultra-right-wing groups have taken up the Palestinian cause in an effort to build a new coalition of hatred to battle the Jews:
- Matt Hale, leader of the white supremacist World Church of the Creator, has called on his supporters to ally themselves with the Palestinians against the common Jewish enemy. In an April 10, 2002, press release, he called suicide bombing "an obviously effective technique that courageous Palestinians in their determination to expel the Jewish invader of their lands have decided to employ."
- In a similar vein, David Irving, a historian whose stock in trade has been the traditional ultra-right-wing denial of the Holocaust, has written on his Web site of the "suicidal heroism" of the "Arab world" and denounced Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon as a "terrorist."
- The notorious David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who has tried to import his brand of bigotry into the Republican party, has been giving pro-Palestinian speeches attacking "Jewish Supremacist Chutzpah" and ridiculing "the so-called holocaust."
Meanwhile, left-wing groups in the United States, especially on college campuses, have taken up the anti-Israel cause and pushed it over the line into outright anti-Semitism. The frightening incidents have swiftly mounted in recent months. Here are some examples:
- At protest marches against the 2003 war in Iraq organized by Action Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), anti- Jewish and pro-terrorist slogans and speeches abounded, from "End the Holocaust" (with a picture of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon) to "First Jesus, Now Arafat -- Stop the Killers." At a San Francisco rally organized by ANSWER on Febru- ary 15, 2003, Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the leftist magazine Tikkun, was forbidden to deliver an antiwar speech because of his pro-Israel position.
- At an anti-Israel rally at the University of Denver, speakers compared Zionism to Nazism, and a member of the Colorado Campaign for Mideast Peace called a Jewish student a kike. On the same day, at another rally at San Francisco State University, posters were displayed bearing pictures of soup cans labeled "Made in Israel. Contents: Palestinian Children Meat."
- An associate professor of history at Kent State University in Ohio used his column in the campus newspaper, the Kent Stater, to praise a female Palestinian suicide bomber.
- Muslim student groups at the University of California's Berkeley and San Diego campuses posted flyers featuring bogus anti-Semitic quotations from the Talmud, including statements such as "A Gentile girl who is three years old can be violated" and "When the Messiah comes, every Jew will have 2800 slaves."
- At Illinois State University, a Jewish student who was asked to sign a petition in support of Palestinian rights asked whether the petition addressed the issue of suicide bombings. In response, a Palestinian graduate student said the petition talked about how to blow the Jewish student's head off.
- Pro-Palestinian demonstrators at San Francisco State University screamed slogans including "Go back to Russia" and "Hitler did not finish the job" at Jewish students expressing support for Israel.
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Meet the Author
Abraham H. Foxman is the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and one of today's preeminent voices against hatred, discrimination, and violence in the United States and worldwide. Born in Poland in 1940, he survived the Holocaust when his parents entrusted him to their Catholic nursemaid, who baptized him and raised him as her own son. Foxman has been with the ADL for more than thirty-five years, and for nearly half of them has served as the national director.
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